Mitchell Eyes EB-3 Visa Program to Boost Shrinking Workforce – Dakota Free Press

EB-5 didn’t work very well, so let’s try EB-3!

After more than a decade of selling green cards to investors to secure Korean and Chinese capital for CAFOs, agribusiness projects and the Deadwood Mountain Grand Casino, South Dakota was left with an EB-5 pusher dead, its EB-5 leader convicted of a felony, and the federal government’s verdict that South Dakota was too corrupt to use the perpetually troubling visa and investment program.

Rather than try again to sell visas to wealthy foreign investors in the hope that their money will create viable, job-creating businesses, employers in Mitchell and elsewhere in South Dakota are recruiting immigrants who will work for their visas under the EB-3 program:

In an attempt to fill the labor shortages Mitchell businesses are struggling with, the Mitchell Area Development Corporation hires a recruiting firm to bring in legal immigrants to fill the jobs.

Executives from recruiting firm Kennedy Access pitched their services Wednesday to a group of local business leaders, school administrators and city officials. Through its EB3 program, the company recruits immigrants from various countries seeking to work in the United States and assists them on their journey by facilitating legal entry and obtaining a green card.

Julian Chung, director of Kennedy Access, praised the company’s services for bringing companies “great workers” who aspire to “remain and be permanent US citizens”.

“The US government will provide the worker’s green cards and permanent residency in exchange for workers supplying labor to US businesses that need workers. Workers come here with the intention of staying and being permanent residents,” Chung said, noting that companies using the recruitment service can apply for an unlimited number of workers. [Sam Fosness, “‘They’re Coming Here to Be Americans’: Mitchell Considers Legal Immigrants to Boost Workforce,” Mitchell Daily Republic via Yahoo, 2022.09.07].

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers EB-3 visas to professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers, but only for work “for which skilled workers are not available in the United States” . Applicants must have job offers in hand; U.S. companies that hire them must file the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Foreign Workers, which costs $700. The EB-3 visa also allows the worker to bring a spouse and children to America, because we Americans value families.

EB-3 applications for mainland Chinese and Indian workers have been on hold for years, but there is no wait for EB-5 applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines or other countries.

Kennedy Access is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. The company says it serves 8 businesses at 14 locations in 10 states:

Kennedy Access, map of customer locations on “Services” web page, retrieved 2022.09.09.

Kennedy Access director Julian Chung tells Fosness that his company recruited for employers in Yankton, Huron and Sioux Falls; of course they also work for Demkota Beef in Aberdeen. Two of the three jobs that appear on the Kennedy Access homepage today are South Dakota jobs:

Kennedy Access splash screen highlighting job postings in Georgia and South Dakota, screenshot 2022.09.09.
Kennedy Access, homepage splash screen highlighting jobs in Georgia and South Dakota, screenshot 2022.09.09.

$17 an hour to handle metal in a hot shop in Yankton, $20 an hour to chop cows in Aberdeen – obviously there are no skilled workers for these jobs available in Yankton and Aberdeen right now, so come in, foreign friends!

But these workers will have to spend more than a thousand hours to buy their green cards. Dakota Provisions recruiter and Kennedy Access client Smoky Heuston tells Fosness that Kennedy Access charges his company $250 per recruited employee, EB-3 workers (in Fosness’s words) “watch a $25,000 tab to make the trip with the help of Kennedy Access. ”

Heuston says EB-3 workers who come to pick his turkeys have a pretty high turnover rate — about half do their required year and then leave Huron to join family elsewhere in the United States. But Heuston says that year of hard work — “how many of you could use an employee who comes in for a year and doesn’t miss a day?” – worth Dakota Provisions’ investment. I can also see where investing directly in workers, the true producers of value, can lead to better economic development than funding projects with cash from foreign investors whose main interest is to skip the queue and traveling to the United States on an EB-5 visa, not really paying attention to the operations and lasting success of the project that takes their money.

But growing interest in workers on EB-3 visas further belies Governor Kristi Noem’s Labor Day claim that South Dakota’s workforce is ‘stronger than ever’ . Now more than ever, South Dakota doesn’t have enough workers to do the job that needs to be done; now more than ever, South Dakota must look to aspiring Americans, our hopeful friends overseas, to staff our factories.

Michael A. Bynum